Category Archives: flesh

Don’t have kids!

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Don’t have kids.

The birth process is a process that isn’t a one time occasion. The birth process happens over and over again as you push your child into new experiences… sometimes it’s a gentle push, sometimes a strong push and sometimes a push that you can’t keep from happening. And, guess what? All that pushing hurts just as much as the first time. It doesn’t matter that it’s not physical pain. That moment your child steps on the bus to go to school, or go to co-op if you homeschool, or go anywhere without you… that first moment hurts. That moment when you find out that someone mistreated your child and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it other than send your child back into the world with support, and a game plan for taking on their own battles. That moment when you have to admit that you can’t control your child’s actions, and that sometimes they are going to make horrible choices.

The moments go on and on, and each time you go through the birth of these moments, your heart bursts into a thousand tiny pieces with the intensity of a firework. And, while it doesn’t burst with a singular emotion, there always seems to be an undercurrent of pain flowing through the moments. Your child goes off to college – you feel pride, joy… and pain at the leaving, at the separation. Your child gets left out from friend gatherings – you feel anger, sorrow… and pain at the injustice.

I didn’t expect any warning about whether or not to have kids, but here is my warning to you… expect pain, expect to feel. more. deeply. And, expect joy. The same joy and rush of relief that you experience at birth when your baby finally emerges is similar to the joy you experience when your child separates from you and bravely takes on the world.


Tonight, my second son is courageously following his passion for cooking, and moving to another state 2000 miles away to pursue finding a job at one of the top restaurants in Denver.

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The Separation… tales of an Outbound Exchange Student Parent

I realized today that the crying is lessening. One week and two days have passed since I put my third son, the exact middle child of my five, on an airplane to Brazil. Before, I wasn’t crying necessarily because I missed him because he’s gone away to camp for longer than he’s been gone, but the loss of childhood… because surely after a year in Brazil, not only will he be a changed person, he will most definitely be a man. But time passes, and here, a week later, I am already moving from the mourning phase to the acceptance phase. He’s OK. He likes the people. He likes the food. He has a personal trainer, and the family he is currently staying with has a maid. Life is definitely good for this boy of mine. The Rotary Club warned him, and us, that homesickness will most likely set in around the three week mark, so now I wait to see if he follows the norm. Honestly, I don’t want him to be homesick. I want him to soak up every moment and life experience while he is there, but the fact is that I think he will soon start to learn the common threads that tie all of humanity together- we live, we care for our families, we love, we die. We are the same, and probably in that new realization, the day to day life in a different country might lose it’s luster because it will become everyday. But, there will still be new moments and adventures to be had, they just won’t come on a daily basis.

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First Knot

Inside my soul a knot of tightly wound veins, arteries and flesh pulsates with hope, pain, love, dreams, aspirations and creativity winding and winding around each other emanating from the child giving birth to a child. Only a firstborn can occupy this sacred space. The living moment where mother and child are born for the very first time. And the rebirth continues over and over each time there is positive movement, each time there is negative movement. All pushing the other into becoming stronger, more loving, better than before.

The knot expands tying up and untying hurt and the joy. Intermingling.

Don’t mistake the knot for favoritism, for there are other knots to be found. Yet nothing can replace the very first knot. The first knot begetting new life.

To my very dear Elijah, I am so proud of you tonight and always. Pouring your sorrow, pouring your joy, pouring your growth into melodies of living.

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My Flourless (gluten-free) & Dairy-free Chocolate Cake


The kitchen table—the place where broken hearts are mended, the place where everyone congregates at a party, and most importantly, the place where you share a meal with family and friends. Come sit for a spell, swap recipes and reveal secret ingredients.

In my family, we celebrate Easter with a huge egg hunt and dinner. Serving a dessert that everyone can enjoy has become a challenge as my family has expanded and food allergies have developed. For me, this means creating a dessert that is both gluten and dairy-free. By searching the internet and making a few tweaks of my own, I contrived a recipe for delicious gluten and dairyfree flourless chocolate cake. What’s best is that you can change the flavor profile just by changing whether you top it with fresh berries, candied jalapenos, simple powdered sugar, or ground espresso beans. Or, add a bit of vanilla or orange extract as another option. This is a rich cake with a dense, fudgy center and crispy edges, perfect for a single layer presentation.

My Flourless & Dairy-free Chocolate Cake
Makes one 8-inch cake

• 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (check ingredient list to make sure there is no added milk or milk fat)
• 1/2 cup of coconut oil
• 3/4cup sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
optional toppings: powdered sugar, berries, a white chocolate drizzle, cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375°F

Line bottom of 8-inch round baking pan with wax paper cut to fit.
Grease pan and wax paper with oil.
Break up chocolate bar into pieces.
Place chocolate and 1/2 cup of coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave on medium power for 30 second increments,
stirring between each increment until melted.
(The coconut oil may be chunky when first removing it from jar)
Once melted, whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk again.
Add cocoa powder to mixture slowly while whisking until combined. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into pan and place on middle rack in oven.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cake in pan for 5 minutes.
Turn over onto serving plate and carefully remove wax paper.
Dust with powdered sugar and top with your choice of ingredients.


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+33 Measure of a woman


What you see is what you get. I think this image speaks for itself. Life is not fair. You can work out 4-5 times per week for months on end, you can run for miles, you can watch what you eat (and f it up, too) but you can’t change everything.  What do people who do not know me see when they look at me? A fat girl. What do I see when I look in the mirror? 8 times out of 10, a fat girl. 2 times out of 10 I might see all of the hard work I’ve put into reshaping this worn out body, this worn out womb. I might see this holder of five children as something to accept. I doubt I will ever see it as something beautiful. It’s not. But, maybe one day when it’s 6 sizes smaller, I’ll be more at peace with myself and the pendulum will shift.

This is my “Soulful Saturday” theme contribution for the week.

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+28 Winter Birth

bday1-2Today is my birthday. Much of my journey of the past year has been focused on my physical body and trying fervently to rid myself of the extra baggage it has acquired over the past twenty three years. This year I am continuing to focus on the physical but added this blog in as a way to return to focusing on my soul and creativity… perhaps to shed the baggage of accumulated negative waste in my head. I shot this photo during my birthday run on my favorite trail. As a January baby, I tend toward the thread of melancholy that weaves it way in and out of the winter months. I love  how silent snow reflects the moonlight, cold yet inviting.

Memories to savor from my birthday:
– running through the brisk air at a faster than usual pace.
– realizing that despite our immaturity as young parents and our weaknesses in general, we have raised a well-balanced, loving adult son. I treasure his visit for my celebration, the dancing to Just Dance 4, and the conversation about emotions we had.
– time around the diningroom table with 4 out of my 5 kids, my hubby, my Mom, and one of my sisters… of special note was the very odd sounding rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung in varying accents.
– a delicious flourless chocolate cake with fresh raspberries, blueberries, bananas and peanut granola lovingly prepared by my husband.

And, another pic from my run…


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+21 +22 +23 Pear-shaped


As an artist, I feel that I shouldn’t go into any explanation in regard to this piece. As a writer, I am tempted to do so. For now, I leave it to the interpretation of the viewer.

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+17 Good food, good company


When my son studying to be a chef was in his culinary class in high school, his teacher told him that even when the economy is bad, chefs still have jobs because somehow people still find the money to go out to eat. Truer words have never been spoken. Today, despite our low funds, my hubby and I went out for breakfast because eating a well-cooked meal and connecting over coffee is sometimes what the soul needs when dealing with life’s bigger problems. And, getting to eat somewhere with heat… ah, the luxury. Breakfast did not disappoint.

We came home and I nestled under the covers in my bedroom with my favorite furry friends, Zach and Tsuki. My dogs, like breakfast, did not disappoint.

Zach, the old man

Zach, the old man

Tsuki, the tiny girl

Tsuki, the tiny girl

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+16 Personal space

+16runtreeWhen I need to clear my head, I run. A year ago I never would’ve imagined myself uttering those words. Every step forward is a physical reminder of my inner strength and when I don’t think I can go any further, I pray. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Yesterday, I ran with a pack of angels. Normally, I run alone. (Pictured above is my most favorite running trail)

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+13 Nuts and bolts

Today was a nuts and bolts kind of day… literally. Jeff and the coal boiler installer, Matt, worked in the basement on the new boiler non-stop from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. The kind of work they did is just not the same kind of work you’d be doing in a modern house… Jeff had to chip away at the cement to change the opening from 4″ inches to 8″ inches to accomodate the exhaust pipe (I *think*). And, because a metal plate from the new (used) boiler was missing, Matt decided to cut a piece of sheet metal from the old boiler and fabricate it into a usable piece on the new boiler. This kind of work fascinates me and reminds me of times long gone by. I wonder what would happen if our country had to suddenly start manufacturing more of it’s own products again rather than outsourcing to other countries. Would our population know what to do? Would we be able to think mechanically or have the right tools? I realize there will always be a segment of the population that passes on knowledge or studies that sort of thing, but I tend to think that this type of knowledge was more commonplace a hundred years ago. Matt shared with us that he never imagined that he’d be getting calls from all up and down the east coast asking him questions about coal boiler installation and burning coal. I realize that coal is looked upon as “dirty” and damaging to the environment, but the truth, at least for residents of Pennsylvania and nearby states is that burning coal creates a smaller carbon footprint than oil when you factor in that it is local to PA and surrounding states and doesn’t have to be shipped from overseas or very far at all. I am looking forward to burning coal because it will also represent not being dependent on another country for my heating source. I will be paying a little more than 1/3 of what I was paying for oil equaling more money in my pocket and less in the pockets of foreigners. Oh, and I’ve been told that coal keeps houses warmer than oil or gas heat… but, I’ll give you the 411 on that fact once I have experienced it for myself.

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